Cosmic Slop #48: Bowie and Winehouse – legendary dead people to dominate BRIT Awards

By Shaun Ponsonby
Thu 21 January, 2016

Shaun Ponsonby vents bitterly about the BRITS’ characteristically lazy nominations and lousy sounding Bowie tribute.

Originally published on Getintothis

The BRITS have always been shit, but it is a special kind of shit. Unlike the outright boring BBC Music Awards, the whiff of desperation about the whole event is strangely hypnotic. It really wants to be a credible music awards show, but its prime time ITV slot won’t allow it. These are the people who gave us two whole series of Tom Daley’s Splash!, and were disproportionately proud to do so. Ergo it is lowest common denominator all the way.

There were two sets of announcements last week. Both seemed designed purely to infuriate me, ostensibly to make up for the fact that James Corden no longer hosts it. Firstly that they were going to honour bona fide genius David Bowie due to the fact that he was such a “visionary”, and secondly the nominations for their awards. Naturally, these two announcements don’t exactly compute when brought together – and looking at the list of nominations makes that acutely obvious. Most of those nominated are about as visionary as a blind cat. You can’t exactly take any awards show seriously when Olly Murs is nominated without irony, even if he is joined by Kendrick Lamar across the ballots.

Quite the shock to anyone with at least two IQ points to rub together, Amy Winehouse has been nominated for Best British Female, despite being unable to record and perform due to a severe case of death, from which she has been suffering from since 2011. As a slap in the face to living women everywhere, she is clearly nominated because the documentary was successful – but by that logic I’m presuming that they also nominated Mozart for Best International Male when the film Amadeus came out in 1985.

Apparently there just aren’t enough living women to nominate. Not one left after nominating the only other four, and out of those, I’m assuming Florence + The Machine is a solo artist who is merely posing as a band a la Sade. Or vice versa. As usual, I’m confused.

They are really going to have to start going back if young women continue to be so bloody untalented! What do you think; Dame Vera Lynn for best newcomer? Sounds like a winner to me.

Also notable by their inclusion in the Best International Band category are Eagles of Death Metal, who – let’s be honest – wouldn’t be anywhere near the nominations had it not been for the events in Paris last November. Still, they are at least a better band than most of the nominees, so I’ll let that one go.

The vast majority of the others across the board prove that – as ever – the BRITS have never been about awarding the best music, but slapping the backs of the people who have generated the most revenue for the industry. Actually, scratch that, all industry awards shows are really only about networking, aren’t they? And, as someone who can’t even get people to come to his birthday party, I resent them for that.

The Bowie tribute is the real fuck up though. In truth, I’m not quite sure what I expected. It is the BRITS, after all. They once gave Tom Odell the critic’s choice award. Simon Cowell sits in the middle of the arena like the King he isn’t.

Reports in Red Top newspapers unfit to mop up projectile diarrhea suggest that an “A-list Supergroup” will be forming for the night to pay tribute to the great man. Oh, wow! Well, who is going to be in there?

Damon Albarn. I’m cool with that.

Noel Gallagher. Of course. The Katie Hopkins of pop would have to get his face in there, wouldn’t he? Noel Gallagher doing a Bowie tribute. NME will be masturbating so much that they’ll miss it. Not to be outdone, Bono will also be fighting Gallagher for face time. That figures.

Then there are two of the dullest acts in British music history; Coldplay and Adele.

Both of these acts are the complete opposite of what Bowie stood for. Coldplay are the very definition of soulless Corporate Rock. I am consistently baffled that anyone actually likes them. I’m not fully convinced they really do. I think people are told that they like them and they just go along with it. The idea that Coldplay were the best people they could find to honour David Bowie’s legacy is frankly offensive, especially given that he refused to work with them, responding with; “it’s not a very good song, is it?” And he wrote The Laughing Gnome, so he should know

As for Adele, I have no idea what song she can sing. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any Bowie songs that are about that one guy she bangs on about. Perhaps she will take Be My Wife from Low, turn it into a dull ballad and change it to Be My Husband. Don’t be miserable, Adele. Be bitter. Like me. (Joking aside, my serious bets are on her performing versions of Life on Mars? and/or “Heroes” sans any of the sense of wonder in the originals).

The only silver lining in the whole report was the phrase “It is unlikely to involve Sam Smith or Ed Sheeran”.

There was also a bit of a backlash against Kanye West when rumour had it that he was planning to record a Bowie tribute. Thousands of people signed a petition against the idea. But, for all his many, many faults and as awful as I can only imagine that being, it makes far more sense for West to pay tribute to Bowie than pretty much anyone the BRITS have lined up (with the notable exception of Albarn). He’s definitely the only person mentioned who has taken Bowie-sized chances in his career, as opposed to the almost conservative safety of Coldplay, Gallagher and Adele.

But do you know what would be better than watching other people performing David Bowie songs? Watching David Bowie perform David Bowie songs. There’s more than enough footage.


Just in case there’s any confusion, I also think Coldplay winning a “Godlike Genius” award is about as close to blasphemy as an atheist can get.

Michael Schenker – who, if you don’t know, as a guitar player was probably some kind of missing link between Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen – has claimed he “can’t trust” his old band Scorpions. Which is funny, because I saw Schenker once, and he was so drunk that he couldn’t play a basic riff and spent half his set supporting himself on his amps so he wouldn’t fall over, before being booed off stage. So if we wanna talk about trust issues…

Usually, I use a section down here to give a shout-out to some great musical figure who has died in the past week. But so many have been dropping recently that I can’t remember them all. All I will say to the Grim Reaper is; if you must take someone, take George Bush or something. Don’t take someone who makes millions of people happy.

I could just about handle Trump and Palin. I can deal with all the deaths. But Shawn Mendes looks set to replace Justin Bieber at the top of the charts. His song, Stitches, is probably dumber than anything Bieber has ever done. So now I’ve reached breaking point; the apocalypse is nigh.